Five of Seventy-two

Almost 30 years ago, I had the idea for my first book. It was a how-to book for Seventh-day Adventists entitled “Fifty-two Things to Do on Sabbath.” I was just short of 30 years old, and very unsure of myself as a writer. I sent out a letter to three publishing houses outlining my idea, and all of them said they were interested. Then I sat on the idea for over a year. One editor–Richard Coffen of Southern Publishing Association, and then Review and Herald–kept writing me, asking how my book was coming. Because of his prompting, I finally got the book written.

When I had it written, I printed out the manuscript, stuck it in an envelope, addressed it, put stamps on it, then lay it on my desk at work. That’s where it lay for more than two weeks. I had the dread disease that many writers suffer from. I knew that if I put that envelope in the mail, there was a chance that it would be rejected, and in a way, I would be rejected as well. But if I never mailed it, it would not be rejected. Not getting published would be because I didn’t put it in the mail, rather than the editor not liking my work.

Well, suffice it to say, I did get it in the mail, and Review and Herald Published my little book. Since that time, it has sold more than 30,000 copies, and even today I get a few hundred dollars royalties from it every year. It was the official start of my publishing career.

Fast forward to today. I have been working on my writing project, a book trilogy entitled “The Champion” for five years. I am down to the last five chapters out of 72 that will comprise the series. And I find myself hesitating, just as I did in 1982. If I never finish it, it will remain perfect in my mind, even if no one else ever reads it. But if I complete it, well, there’s the possibility of rejection.

It’s a lot like dating. If you never ask the girl, you can’t get rejected. On the other hand, if you never ask her on that first date, you may never get to know the woman that may become your wife.

And then there’s the two conflicting sayings:

“Look before you leap.”


“Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

It’s a quandary, one that every writer faces. It’s no fun, but it comes with the territory.

Just do it.

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